In our neighborhood

Just a short walk down Nassau Street from Princeton Public Library, Tigerlabs is getting settled into a new home. Picture an open, beamed loft area painted in bright and cheery colors, with great light, an informal vibe, several rows of wired tables, comfy office chairs, a kitchen, lockers, a ping pong table, and even a traditional red British phone box. People are working at computers, chatting together, taking a break for a snack, having a meeting, and yes, playing a bit of ping pong.

Tigerlabs is a seed fund, coworking space, and entrepreneurship center based in Princeton. Tigerlabs was founded to foster innovation by targeting, mentoring, building, and launching companies into the tech world through “Collaboration. Mentorship. Investment.” How might these values connect to the library? This past week, several library staff members visited Tigerlabs to explore this question with James Smits, program director.

We shared ideas about technology education and community, talking less about startups and actual projects and more about how library programs draw community participation, and how to promote and foster skills for 21st century innovation. We poked around the awesome shared Commons workspace and met some of the resident technology entrepreneurs, who are developing tech and medical hardware, software, and apps.

Every day here at the library, we support independent professionals’ and telecommuters’ work. Some use our computers, but increasingly, they bring their own devices and hop onto our wireless network to connect. On the second floor, we offer scanners so anyone can email or upload documents to their cloud storage accounts. People use our small study rooms for meetings and consultations. The flexibility of working outside of the home or formal office environment, in the community, is appealing. Coworking, laTigerlabs, takes this environment a step further by offering flexible spaces for “the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently  and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.” (Wikipedia)

While the library continues to offer events and classes geared to developing and expanding technology skills, and co-sponsors the annual SCORE Small Business Fair, an event which brings together experts in entrepreneurship, financing, web design, marketing and franchising for the benefit of those looking to start a new business or keep an existing one healthy, we are excited for future developments and collaborations with Tigerlabs.

Photo by hartejsingh on Instagram.

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